Someone else’s kit

This is a checklist for someone who’s been asked to train people at a centre to make a digital story and to leave some skills behind so people at that centre can continue to make stories after the initial trainer’s moved on…

I wouldn’t expect every machine at most centres in this country to be capable of producing video. That may not be a problem though. Here are examples of questions to ask about the computers:

– got both Firewire and USB 2 ports?
– got more that 512MB of ram?
– got soundcard and video card?
– got hard drive of more than 40GB?
– got DVD burner?
– are administrator permissions set up so video can be stored and produced?
– got the same software as in the instruction manuals left behind there?
– etc.

Video camera training for digital storytelling

If you’re planning to train people to include video clips in the form of ‘pieces to camera’ in their digital story or ’short’, there’s a lot people need to learn:

– how to feel comfortable and come across as well as they can on camera
– how to say something that’s engaging for the viewer
– how to set the camera up to record video
– how to set the camera up to record audio
– how to frame their shot and not move or zoom the camera
– the possible importance of taking covering shots and to tell the full story in the overall visual narrative
– etc., etc.
– how to review and check everything before deciding all necessary rushes are there and that ‘it’s a wrap’.

You’ll probably need to allow at least a day for all that.

camcorder photo
Photo by fotologic

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 24 December 2007.

Audio Storytelling Legacy Setup

Someone asked me this week about setting up and training people to run audio storytelling workshops on someone else’s equipment. It’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. The biggest challenge is often the fact that machines are ‘locked down’ by the administrator.

To work around potential permissions issues when working on computers in community cyber cafes, libraries and educational establishments, buy a dozen, fast, USB memory sticks. Paste some portable applications in one directory on the stick and make another directory for people to record their sound. There could be a third directory containing the ‘tutorial audio’ which everyone will use to learn to edit audio together. Then ask people to plug in this stick and use it instead of the PC’s hard drive.

It would be better to use M-Audio Microtrack recorders than mini-discs if the budget will stretch to that, because audio rushes can be dragged in file form faster than real time and time will be of the essence in your workshops.

Here’s a download link (click on ‘website’) are some instructions for setting up Audacity to work on a USB stick: or on a portable flash card via a card reader.